MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been a tough time down on the farm. As the trade war with China drags on, pork and soybean prices have fallen dramatically.
Now, Minnesota soybean growers hope late news from China signals better things to come.
“Yes, there’s definitely a glimmer of hope here. More than we’ve had in the last year or two years since this started,” said Joseph Smentek, executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.
China said it would not impose additional tariffs on pork, soybeans and other agricultural commodities.
“We send a lot of beans to China through the Pacific Northwest, so this trade war has had a huge impact on us, especially the northern Minnesota soybean farmers,” Smentek said.
China’s decision saves an additional 10% to 15% tacked on to what’s already crippling the market. Imports of United States-grown soybeans are taxed with an additional 25% tariff. Pork imports are getting smacked with a crippling 62% tariff from China.
Minnesota Pork Producer President Dave Preisler said China’s action was, “certainly a step in the right direction.”
While China has shifted to producers in other parts of the world, U.S. growers say those beans are of inferior quality.
“I’m confident that, you know, if we get over these trade barriers, we have a really good product that we can ship really cheaply, cheaper than the rest of the world because of our infrastructure,” Smentek said. “Those markets will come back.”
Smentek adds that Minnesota is the nation’s third-largest producer of soybeans, so getting exports going again will be crucial to the health of farmers across the state.